This is a region of contradictions. While Silicon Valley, just over the mountains, may be a hollow shell of its previous splendor, life goes on as usual in Capitola and Santa Cruz. Tourists browse, locals sun themselves, and children still play in the surf.
Bill Shaffer, my writer friend, and I sauntered down the beach at Capitola with no particular goal in mind and all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves. We took pictures, enjoyed the sea air, and discussed our plans for developing our writing skills and getting published.
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Wending our way through clusters of sunbathers, we noticed a few who stood out from the others, not so much because of their lack of tan, but by their attitudes. Regular sunbathers are lazily indolent, these seemed to be somewhat wary of garnering attention.
One young man, in particular, drew our attention. He was dressed in non-descript shorts and a tee-shirt, but his expensive haircut and commanding looks caught our eye. When he saw us eyeing him, he gave off the unmistakeable hang-dog look of an out-of-work executive and turned to avoided our glances.
It is tough to be unemployed in the midst of plenty. Unlike the lower tier performers in Hollywood who have adapted to being unemployed 80% of the time, most of our unemployed Silicon Valley players still have to work out a game plan that lets them shift gears and adapt to life without a corporate credit card.
Having been on the beach a few times myself, I find it a good place to regroup and revitalize my purposes after a business or personal downturn. I hope it does the same for the unemployed people I saw there.
If nothing else, you can watch teenagers play the age-old game of discovering who they are going to be.
It sure brought back memories…
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